16-7-2013. Asking young people to blog is a good way of publicising symposium results, as the Africa AgricultureScience Week
(AASW), held from 15-20 July in Accra (Ghana), has proved. More than 150 young Africans, organised into a ‘AASW Social Reporting Team’ are right now writing blogs
and tweets about agriculture in Africa. The Social Reporters do not need to attend the workshops, they can also track them on line.
Idowu Ejere, a young Nigerian diplomat, came up with the idea a few months ago. A born communicator she already had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogger but she used them mostly for personal purposes. Until she attended a Social Media Training in Uruguay. In one of the blogs she explains that this course was a turning point in her life as she came to understand the power of social media’
Ejere knew from previous meetings that one of the challenges was to ‘get the message out to people outside the usual audiences, including policy makers, young people and the general public’. Her organisation (the FARA) teamed up with other stakeholders and together they started a capacity building program for Social Reporters.
Today, the second day of the Week, three o’clock in the afternoon, there are already more than 25 blogs on the new blog site; 1720 followers including me (in Wageningen) get every new blog in their mailbox. The blogs provide (research) news and opinions. Several blogs seem to be from a program leader or communication officer at a NGO or research institutes. But other young people (traders, students, maybe even farmers) will definitely follow. The last blog, ‘Learn to farm from your computer’, is from an experienced Ghanian blogger, Dominic Kornu, who had nothing to do with agriculture before this Week. You can find out more about the training he got in his blog
from 14 July, entitled Quaphui’s Cafe.
One thing is a pity. The Science Week homepage shows mainly pictures and descriptions of the official speakers – ministers, famous professors and company leaders. Although the F (for facebook), the T (for Twitter), and the In (for LinkedIn), mean a visitor is only one click from the blogsite or the tweets, I am not sure if this is clear enough for older people. I for one (> 30) had missed it.
According to the blog of the CGIAR (one of the stakeholders): ’87 blog posts and over 2800 tweets were published at the end of day 2, reaching almost 800,000 people’.